Family Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)


White-tailed Swallow (Hirundo megaensis)


French: Hirondelle à queue blanche German: Weißschwanzschwalbe Spanish: Golondrina coliblanca

Hirundo megaensis


, 1942,

10 miles [16 km] west of Mega, 4000 feet [c. 1220 m], Ethiopia


See H. leucosoma. Phylogenetic study#R found genetic divergence between present species and H. dimidiata to be by far the smallest (0.7%) among all species in this genus. Monotypic.


S Ethiopia (Yabello and Mega areas).

Descriptive notes

13 cm; 11 g. Male is glossy steel-blue above, wings black with blue sheen; tail slightly forked, inner feathers all white with black shaft streaks, outer feathers white on... read more




Open, semi-arid grassland with acacia (Acacia) bushes, also Acacia woodland, and... read more

Food and feeding

Diet includes beetles (Coleoptera). Forages around flowering trees; flight fast and elegant.


Main rainy season in Apr–Jun, but suspected of breeding also in period Jan–Feb. Nest is a small open cup, constructed of mud... read more


Resident; possibly some local movements, as numbers vary.

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Restricted-range species: present in South Ethiopian Highlands EBA. Population estimated to be in range 2500–10,000 individuals, but data poor. Although... read more

Recommended citation

Turner, A. (2020). White-tailed Swallow (Hirundo megaensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 February 2020).